The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced the award of a $50,000 grant to help the Vermont Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) program fight Medicare fraud. The grant went to the Community of Vermont Elders and it is part of President Obama’s mandate to educate seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries about how to prevent fraud in Medicare.‘This grant is one of more than 50 awarded throughout the country to put more feet on the ground in the fight against Medicare fraud,’ said CMS Administrator Donald Berwick, M.D. ‘We are concerned about Medicare fraud and activity by criminals seeking to defraud seniors ‘ and we want to ramp up our local community resources to educate seniors and people with Medicare about how they can help us stop it.’The grant will provide additional funds to increase awareness of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries of health care fraud prevention, identification and reporting through expansion of SMP program capacity. States identified as high-fraud areas received higher amounts to support additional targeted strategies for collaboration, media outreach and referrals. The Administration on Aging will administer these grants in partnership with CMS.‘Unfortunately, scam artists are using the new health care provisions of the Affordable Care Act as an opportunity to scare and steal from seniors,’ said Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee. ‘Additional funding for the Senior Medicare Patrol in Vermont will help us significantly increase our outreach and education to people with Medicare. We applaud CMS for its commitment to fighting Medicare fraud.’SMP volunteers work Vermont to educate Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, family members, and caregivers about the importance of reviewing their Medicare notices to identify billing errors and potentially fraudulent activity. Program volunteers also encourage seniors to make inquiries to the SMP Program when such issues are identified, so that the project may ensure appropriate resolution or referral.Since 1997, HHS and its Administration on Aging have funded Senior Medicare Patrol projects to recruit and train retired professionals and other senior volunteers about how to recognize and report instances or patterns of health care fraud. Close to 3 million Medicare beneficiaries have been educated throughout the country since the start of the program, and more than 1 million one-on-one counseling sessions have taken place with seniors or their caregivers. The SMP program funds projects in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.http://www.stopmedicarefraud.gov/(link is external) or http://www.cms.gov/FraudAbuseforConsumers/(link is external)
A New York woman who was captured on a now viral video where she falsely called the police on a black man saying he was threatening her life, has since been fired from her job.The incident occurred on Monday in an area of Central Park known for bird watching.According to the parties involved, a man who allegedly visited the park to bird watch, asked the woman to put their dog on a leash as it is the policy in that area of the park due to the birds. The woman refused and that’s when the man says he pulled out treats to lure the dog over in an attempt to get the woman to put the dog on a leash. The conversation quickly becomes heated at which point, the man began recording the incident.In the video, the woman asks the man to stop recording her as she approaches him with her dog. The man then replied “stop walking towards me.”That’s when the woman threatens to call the police and claim that an African American man was threatening her life. Within seconds she did just that.Authorities reported that they arrived to the scene around 8:00 pm and acknowledge that the two had an argument but decided to go their separate ways:“Upon arrival, police determined two individuals had engaged in a verbal dispute,” an NYPD spokesperson said. “There were no arrests or summonses issued and both parties went on their way.While no one legal consequences occurred, due to the now viral video, her place of employment has since decided to terminate her after further review of the video. The woman has also returned the dog to the shelter from which she originally purchased the animal after those who watched the video expressed concern for how the woman was handling the dog. While the woman refused to put the dog on a leash, she was seen holding the dog in the air by it’s collar as it yelped and struggled to break free.